Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanks for Relief

Tuesday, November 29, 2011: Today I am VERY grateful for relief - I feel 98.9% better than yesterday. After some switching of meds - and thanks to sweet Linds for the loan of bottled relief - I was able to sleep well and wake up with minimal pain and distress. Am gaining strength as the day goes on, too. I've never had such a bad infection, so now I sympathize much more with those of you who deal with these beasties often. This one about did me in...

In spite of feeling like a pile of mush yesterday, we attempted to decorate for Christmas for Family Home Evening. It was pretty much all I could do to help with the tree...and leave the rest for today. I've been able to get a lot done already this morning. Just a few more things to put out and then, I'll be happier. SOO grateful for healing, health, the RIGHT drugs, and energy. Wow, I am so blessed - and a much nicer person to be around when I feel good.

Monday, November 28, 2011

List of Thanks

Monday, November 28, 2011: I've missed far too many days of giving thanks here, but know that I have been thankful in some degree every one of those days and have told my Heavenly Father "thank you" many times. After a wonderful Thanksgiving feast and feeling the joy of being with family, I echo the line, "There's no place like home..." I am very grateful for all the help that surrounded me Thanksgiving Day, from setting up tables and chairs and making the tables look pretty, to cooking, baking (my darling DIL makes the most delish pies & rolls EVER!), slicing, pouring & serving. Every detail was perfect. And though Janessa complained just a teensy bit about the rest of our "boring" weekend, it was good to relax and not have any big commitments. (She would have preferred some fun activities, but I happen to know that she finished one of her books in the stack of "unread" and started another...)

I am thankful for music - once again LOVING my privilege to sing "Messiah" with the Utah Symphony and Chorus this past weekend. "Hallelujah!"

I am thankful for the peace the Spirit can bring when things look bleak. Bad news can crush us if we don't rely on the Spirit to bring comfort and the hope & miracles of blessings.

I am thankful for meds - because today I am suffering (sigh) with a UTI. I made up my mind this morning to go to the dr's office first thing and happily, they had an opening. Got some high-powered meds that I hope will bring speedy relief. Whew. So glad I didn't wait any longer. Our bodies are really wonderful, but when something isn't right, they sure let you know it in a big way.

I am thankful for the anticipation of putting up our Christmas tree tonight. It gives me a little boost on this day when I just wish I could curl up in my bed (which I still may do for a few hours...). Bring on the Christmas music and the pine-scented Scentsy!

I am thankful for my family. They are all that really matter to me. I love them, I pray for them, and I want them to be happy, especially during this holiday season. May God hear us and bless us, every one.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Musings, Part II

Monday, November 21, 2011: Yesterday was my Chelsea's 7th anniversary with her hubby, Rob. They took a little break and spent the weekend in Vegas, but unlike the typical Vegas holiday, they began their journey with a visit to the temple. And much like my sweet experience Friday, she had a unique "tender mercy" experience, too. She & Rob wanted to spend an hour in the temple (having never been to the Las Vegas temple before), so they made sure the workers knew their time limits. She said the experience was very precious, with the uniting of families beyond the grave for time and all eternity. Just as their hour was coming to an end, the temple worker looked at the doorway and said, "Hello, President, come on in." Chels and Rob turned around to see Owen Roundy, a very close family friend of my mom and dad's, who was our Bishop when we lived on Bristol Way in Vegas. He was coming in to take over the ordinance work being done. Since it was a good time to leave, Chels went up to him and introduced herself, telling him that she couldn't believe that she would see him on this day at this time - another "non"-coincidence! When she told him she was Lois's granddaughter and Lisa's daughter, he was amazed that their paths had crossed, as well. He asked about my mom's health and my health, and as Chels and Rob were leaving the room, she heard him tell the other folks that she was the granddaughter of "one of my dearest friends, Roy Passey." What a tender moment! Chelsea said that from the minute he walked in the room, she knew "Pop" was there, too. Of course he was! I'm so grateful for these seemingly small experiences that prove the Lord's love for us.

Today, I'm thankful for good health. I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Bradley early this morning to have my ear checked and he asked me lots of questions about everything in general. Hard to believe that it's been eight months since I first met Dr. Bradley and was diagnosed with melanoma in that very office. Eight months ago, I would have hoped to be at this point, but I was very fearful and pessimistic. Today, I have an abundance of hope because I know my team of doctors will fight valiantly for me. I told him that my "procedure" with Dr. Fisher is coming up on December 1, as well as my scans at Huntsman on Dec. 19 and the visit with Dr. Grossmann on December 20. He asked if I had any other worries--any lumps or bumps--and I was happy to say, ''No." I feel good and I feel that all will be well. When I went to the front desk to make another follow-up appointment in 6 weeks, I was told that he will be "out of the office" from December 19 to the end of the year because his wife is having a baby. I'm so happy for them! My appointment was made for January 9, 2012. Wow. The new year is already here in so many ways. With hope and faith and miracles, I know all will be well then, too. I am so blessed.

Monday Musings, Part I

Monday, November 21, 2011: Many things to be thankful for this Monday afternoon. I had some wonderful experiences over the past few days. I want to share a few, and may have to go to Part II at some point. We'll see...

I've been singing this past week with the Symphony Chorus. Beautiful music by Hector Berlioz, "The Childhood of Christ". We sang in French. I write everything out phonetically under the words, so my French is not very precise. We performed Friday night and Saturday night, and it was thrilling. I loved watching our conductor, Maestro Thierry Fischer. He was animated and emotional. He adores the music, and it showed on his face and in his wide, sweeping gestures, as he encouraged us and the orchestra to sing and play our best with our whole hearts. There were magical moments both nights. In the first act, the women of the chorus did not appear on stage; instead, we sang from the stairwell offstage, as we were "angels" singing to Mary and Joseph after the birth of their Holy Baby. I had to mouth several parts, as they were way too high for my (ever-deeper) Alto range. Oh, but for a moment, we were the angels and it was glorious. In the second act, we came on stage and joined the men for some wonderful choruses. There was also a truly beautiful number called "Trio for Two Flutes and a Harp", in which Maestro sat down and let them play completely on their own. It was the music of heaven. Listen to it sometime and you'll see. The chorus follows soon after with "O Mon Ame" (O, My Soul), a haunting, soft, a capella number that brought me to tears at the final "Amen"... both nights! I know the audience, too, was spellbound - no one moved, even after Maestro lowered his arms at the end. Silence filled the hall, and so did the Spirit. So lovely. I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful organization and to hear and participate in such moving music. It is one of my most overwhelming blessings...

Also, on Friday, I had the sweetest experience at the temple. I decided to go, spur of the moment, Friday morning, so I dropped Ness off at school and drove up the hill in the cold November morning mist. I parked and walked up to the temple doors. As I approached this beautiful building, I realized that in leaving my purse in the car, I had also left mints/gum/breath spray and all other remedies I have come to carry with me everywhere to combat my dry mouth (results of salivary gland removals AND radiation treatments) and bad breath (which embarrasses me to no end). I hesitated to enter the temple, thinking I should go back and get my purse. But, in the end, I decided I would ask one of the sweet workers if they could spare me a mint or two to get me through the next couple of hours. The temple was not very busy--it was only 8:15 AM! The dressing room was quiet and uncrowded. I walked the hallway to the waiting worker and she directed me to a dressing room at the far end of the aisle. All four lockers were free, so I decided to open the second from the left. To my absolute astonishment, there on the top shelf of the locker was a package of Trident Peppermint gum with only one stick taken from it! At first, I laughed and looked heavenward and somewhat irreverently gave Heavenly Father a "thumbs up"! But, then, I started to cry, shaking my head in amazement that He blesses me so COMPLETELY. There was no way to return the gum to its rightful owner--it was there to bless me at the exact moment I needed it. I know there are no coincidences. He led me to the exact place where a blessing awaited me. It is a marvel to me that He knows me, He knows my needs, and He is there for me, even with something so simple as a stick of gum to keep my mouth moist and my breath minty-fresh. Amazing! I am so grateful. When I left the temple that day, I left the package of gum behind. Maybe it blessed someone else, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Double Gratitude

Wednesday, November 16, 2011: As you can tell, I'm falling into the habit of doing two days at a time. I'm just such a busy bee (only because I'm only moving at half speed most of the time!) that time slips away from me during the day and it's time for bed. Sorry. But, I continue to be doubly (is this a word?) grateful for many things.

Yesterday, my gratitude involved the beautiful music of the Utah Symphony, soloists, and chorus as we prepare to perform Berlioz's "Childhood of Christ" this weekend. It's a whirlwind week of rehearsals, and yesterday, I realized (again) just how difficult this piece is. Not only has the chorus been spending extra rehearsal time on our numbers, but obviously the symphony and the soloists have been struggling a bit, too. Our director, Maestro Thierry Fischer, is wonderful and patient as he leads and guides us to the vision he sees and hears. More time was spent last night on the orchestral pieces, as they fine-tune everything to perfection. I'm sure tonight the chorus will be drilled just as extensively. It is an amazing experience to sing with such a high caliber of musicians--me, the un-trained and un-professional. I count it as one of my miracles that my neck surgeries and radiation treatments spared my vocal chords. They are not perfect, by any means, but they keep me in this circle of unbelievable music and people that have the power to lift and inspire and soothe and comfort. I'm so grateful.

Today, I am grateful for the smiles I encounter everywhere in my busy life. I spent time at a couple of stores today, and the people behind the cash registers were amazingly kind and friendly. I couldn't help but smile back! Smiles are so simple to give, I wonder why we don't hand them out to everyone we meet. I certainly need to try harder. I'm thankful that people realize how much difference a smile makes to a person who may be having a bad day or who may feel sad or who just needs a little boost. It's contagious! I wish our mouths just naturally turned up on the ends. Gotta practice this one, especially now that my muscles and nerve ends tend to droop down. Keep smiling! It's wonderful!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Clouds & Sunshine

Monday, November 14, 2011: So grateful for the time I can spend with my family. But because there were five extra people in my house for the past few days, I did not get any computer time. Not complaining...just explaining.

Friday, I was extremely grateful for the significance of the date: 11/11/2011. It was an historic day for many and a good day for most, including me. Rob passed his aptitude test to apply for nursing school. That made us all smile. We remembered those who have fought (and continue to fight) so valiantly for our freedoms and liberties, especially Calvin, Raymond, Eddie, James, John, and Jacob. We salute them and honor them. I was also tickled to watch Lachlan play soccer in Aaron & Lindsey's backyard with some neighbor boys--I loved their little cheers & huddles & imitations of the "big boys". And it warmed my heart to see Avery play with her little sister, Jane, and cousin, Olive, and be a helper. They're all growing up. They're all amazing.

Saturday, I was grateful for a warm house in the midst of a drizzly rain/snow storm. It was never exactly SUNNY, but for a few brief moments, the rain stopped spitting and the wind quieted so Chels could take our picture for our holiday cards. I know they'll be wonderful, so I'm grateful for the time Chelsea took to stand in the cold and wet and try to avoid being run over by the traffic, just so I could have the card I've envisioned. I was also very grateful to celebrate Aaron & Lindsey's 9th anniversary and to think back nine years ago--the temple, the radiant couple, the family (Pop helping in the kitchen for the wedding breakfast), and the amazing reception. I love them so much. I'm grateful for their love & support of me, often dropping their own plans to help. It means the world to me.

Sunday, I was grateful for the miracle of forgiveness--whether it's the understanding that comes when keys are accidentally locked in the car and an expensive locksmith must be called, or the Savior's love when we fall short of our potential and choose unwisely. There is a power in the Atonement that transcends the bleak discouragement that comes when we fail. In His eyes, we are like little children who must constantly be picked up, brushed off, and set on our wobbly legs again, time after time. How grateful I am for His eternal love. I would be lost without it.

Today, I am grateful for the sunshine and the fresh air...and for Christmas music on the radio. I know, I know, it isn't even Thanksgiving yet. But the familiar carols bring memories of joy...and anticipation of joy to come. It's just a little pick-me-up that never fails.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reality Check

Thursday, November 10, 2011: Today, I wanted to be able to express gratitude that I no longer had to worry about my little tummy "cyst", but it was not to be. Unfortunately, my doctor and his nurse neglected to tell me that I had to be off Coumadin for FIVE days prior to any type of procedure. I am so bummed. I cried when they told me we would have to reschedule. And of course, the next available appointment isn't until DECEMBER 1, which seems like forever away. I know it will be here in a blink of an eye, but it can't come soon enough. Now, I will worry through concert week next week, through Thanksgiving and beyond, until it is finally removed and analyzed. I just want it gone. I am in a funk over this. So, I must think of my gratitude attitude.

Yesterday (yes, I didn't have time to post), I was thankful for my little girl (not so little at 5'9"). She and I went to the Young Women's Evening of Excellence and my heart was swollen with pride and love for what a beautiful young lady she is and is becoming. I'm grateful that she likes to tell me everything, because I know someday--in the realm of teenagehood--that may not be the case. I love the drama of her life--her struggles with her shyness around new and old friends, her new-found "crush" on a boy at school, her love of CHOIR (hooray!), her love of Seminary (another hooray!), and all the hoopla that comes with being 14--and a half. She is beautiful and funny, and I really must learn to be more patient when she acts a bit selfish. It's just so junior high, and I really do remember how that feels. I love her dearly. I'm so grateful to have her in my life.

Today, I am grateful (even though I'm also grouchy) for my health. I had the energy (even after my crying spell) to clean my house, including bathrooms!, for Chelsea & Rob's arrival tonight. I have a small house, so the energy level doesn't have to be monumental, but I'm so grateful that I can push a vacuum around, scrub a tub, and polish a few mirrors. Maybe if I had had the "procedure" (I refuse to call it a surgery!), I wouldn't have been able to do all that today. Tomorrow maybe, but not today. So, see? There is a silver lining in the dark cloud that dumped on me today. Okay. I'll feel better tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Tuesday, November 8, 2011: In my job, I type or populate a date field for each report, and as today was November 8, every time it came up, I was reminded that today is one of my childhood girlfriend's birthday. She and I were best of buddies from first grade to 10th grade. We lived two houses from each other on the same street. We both loved to write stories and read books. We both loved to sing and play-act. We both loved to roller-skate and ride our cool banana-seat bikes. We both loved dolls, and one year (third grade, I think), Santa brought us both the SAME doll. We were in the same class in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. We chased the same boys on the playground. We copied each other's hairstyles and ordered eyeglasses that were similar. If we weren't in our own homes, we were together. We loved to walk to 7-11 and buy $0.10 candy bars. As we got older, we loved to ride our bikes the (seemingly) long way to the public library, where we'd scope out all the best books we longed to read. Sometimes, we went to the local bowling alley near the library. We'd take our hard-earned babysitting money - a couple of dollars, at least - and eat lunch at Taco Bell, where every menu item was $0.25. Imagine, a bean burrito, a taco, and a small drink for under $1! We went to movies and the swimming pool in the summer, when the heat index was over 100 degrees. We wore our shorts and sandals in the winter and celebrated the one time it snowed on Christmas Day! We played Hide 'n Seek with the other neighbor kids and put on "concerts" and plays in someone's garage. We made puppets from paper mache. We played Monopoly for hours. We played school and both dreamed of becoming "real" teachers someday.

I am grateful for these memories. I had a blessed childhood. I loved my friends and they loved me. I hope that someday, I can find this girlfriend and renew our friendship. The last I heard from her, she was fighting a brain tumor, but was making progress. She had fulfilled her dream of becoming a schoolteacher and was beloved among students and parents for her creative, kind, encouraging personality. She is still in my heart, though I unintentionally hurt her feelings once and she chose to give up our communications. I hope I can make it up to her someday.

I have wonderful friends today. They are a light in my life. The saying is true, that you find out who your true friends are when you go through a trauma or a tragedy. They're the ones who keep track of you, ask how you're doing, keep you in their thoughts and prayers. I'm afraid that's where I failed with my childhood friend. She was going through this terrible illness, and I was selfish with my time and energy. I could have called, I could have written, I could have done more to support her in her time of need. I have friends now who have been angels in my life through my illnesses. They show up on my doorstep with a little treat or a smile and put their arms around me. They write me notes of love and support and encouragement and tell me to stay strong. They pray for me, and I feel it. I know I could call any of them and they would come running. I am so grateful for friends. I hope that through my experiences this year, I can be a better friend, too. It makes a huge difference in the quality of our little lives to know there is someone around the corner who would do anything for you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Catching up with Gratitude

Monday, November 7, 2011: I usually don't turn on my computer on the weekends, simply because I'd rather be doing other things on Saturday and Sunday than sitting in front of the computer screen. It tends to be very addicting. I feel like my Monday through Friday job that requires staring into the computer world is enough. So...I missed my Saturday and Sunday gratitude entries (as you may or may not have noticed). Here's a little catch-up:

Saturday: Today, I was grateful for a warm coat and a fluffy scarf around my scarred neck. (Who knew that my "wobbler" would be affected by the cold weather? Dr. Avizonis said that the cold may cause it to swell and be weird this winter. Gee, thanks. But, I am glad to be forewarned. It gives me a good excuse for more scarves!) It snowed on us today. Boo. I'm not a winter person. I'd much rather be warm from the sun than a heater. I will admit that the snow can be pretty, but I like it best when it covers the lawns and trees...and then swiftly melts away. It did that today, for the most part. Thank you.

Sunday: Today, I was grateful for a peaceful Sabbath...and one extra hour to sleep (Daylight Savings Time ended). Our church meetings were spirit-filled and I was motivated to do and be better. My Sunday nap was sweet, even if it wasn't quite long enough. Dinner was quick and easy and good (orange chicken and rice) and Family Council was enlightening, thanks to my two good supporters. After, we played Monopoly - and though I came in last (with my four measly properties!), it was fun. Janessa wants it to be on the Council agenda: "Board Game Time". We'll see.

And now for today's gratitude moment: Today, I am grateful for phone calls that begin with "Hello, my sweet girl!", which can only mean my momma is on the other end. She sounds so good! There was a time - not so long ago - that I saved two or three messages from those phone calls that I missed from her, just to listen to her voice over and over again, wondering if I would ever hear her that way again, if at all. I'm SOOO grateful for my mom and her continued progress and strength. I'm so grateful that she continues to worry about me and give me advice and share her love with me. I love her dearly. Yes, it's a good day when I can talk to my mom and laugh with her and catch up on our crazy lives. Thanks, Mom. Love you...

Friday, November 4, 2011


Friday, November 4, 2011: Today I am grateful for my siblings. I have one brother and three sisters, all younger. Two sisters live quite far away and we have to rely on texting and email to stay in touch. Thank goodness for modern technology! The third one lives not so far away, yet I don't take the time often enough to see her or talk to her. So, today, I called and asked if she wanted to go to lunch with me. I was going to pick her up after I ran some errands at the local mall, but she asked if she could come "window-shopping" with me. It was a great treat. She's a tough lady who has had a tough life and I'm constantly amazed that she can keep her chin up through all the trials. We laughed and oohed and ahhed over the fun things at the store and each picked out a pretty shirt for the colder weather. My sweet sister complimented me on my (not-so-cute) hair and told me my latest neck scar isn't "that noticeable." To top it all off, we ate until we were stuffed like little piggies at the restaurant! It was wonderful.

I've been a big sister for over 50 years - wow! And while it hasn't always been easy or fun, I love my siblings with all my heart. Each one has special qualities and abilities. Each one has had to find their way through this life and climb over a lot of rough spots. Each one has shown courage in the face of extreme tragedy and trauma. Each one has lifted me in one way or another through their love and prayers. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. I'm grateful for Troy, Laura, Patti, and Dionne. Love you guys - mmwwahhh!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here's to our health

Thursday, November 3, 2011: Today, my gratitude moment is for feeling good and strong because the opposite is NOT a fun ride. Yesterday morning, I went into my girl's room to wake her up for school, as I do every morning. Usually, she's on her tummy or her side, deep in sleep, but yesterday, she was flat on her back and her eyes were HUGE. I have to admit it was a little creepy since I was expecting her eyes to be closed. She tried to smile a bit, but confessed that she had a "crick" in her neck and was in some serious pain. Not quite sure how she did it - maybe sleeping wrong? - but she had woken up on her tummy and tried to roll over...and couldn't. It took all her strength to get from her stomach to her back and now, she couldn't move at all. It was scary to me. Things like this are not supposed to happen to teenagers. I offered Tylenol and a heated bean bag, to which she agreed. That's when I knew it was serious - she hates to take meds. As we nestled the heated bag onto her sore neck and shoulder, I told her to rest and let the Tylenol work while I took a shower. When I came back about 20 minutes later, she hadn't moved except to re-position the heat bag. My poor girl! I knew then that we probably weren't going to be driving to school on time, so I left her resting while I straightened the kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher. It was probably a half hour later that she came staggering in, having pulled herself (painfully!) to a sitting and then standing position. We re-heated the bag and settled her into the recliner. Her morning routine was completely dissolved; she could barely move her head or lift her right arm. (I wanted to say, "Welcome to MY world!", but didn't...) Finally, at 10:00, she was able to get dressed, even though she couldn't lean down to put on shoes or socks. I had to help her pin her bangs back because it hurt to lift her arms. I suggested that she stay home from school, but she said she "had to go." We arrived just as the third hour class was beginning, so she left me at the office to get her checked in while she went to her locker for class. She didn't want a lunch, even though she hadn't eaten breakfast either, so I tucked a Nutri-Grain bar into her bag. I told her to call me if the pain got bad again and watched her walk gingerly down the hall. My heart ached for her.

I know pain. I know NECK pain. Sometimes, I wonder if I can handle it another minute...and then, I do. But this, THIS, was awful. I felt helpless. I wanted to "wave my magic wand" (one of my mom's sayings) and make it all go away for my girl. I couldn't. She had to endure it on her own with my limited help.

Today, I am grateful that the pain lessened as the day wore on and she was actually able to sleep okay last night. Today, she seems almost whole again. We take our health for granted every single day, but those moments when it disappears is devastating. I am so thankful that with meds and heated bean bags and loving care and lots of prayer, things do get better. Whew!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gratitude Attitude

November 2, 2011: I've decided (with a little help from my friends - la la la) to make November full of "Gratitude Attitude". I certainly have a boatload of blessings to be thankful for. Every day, I'll post something I'm grateful for in my crazy life. It's a good reminder of what is REALLY important.

Since yesterday was November 1, I'll do two "thank you's" today. Yesterday, I was thankful for the turning of the calendar on another month and simply feeling GOOD inside. I had confirmation from a loved & respected doctor that "all will be well", and I believe her. I am grateful that I can sing and rehearse with the Utah Symphony Chorus and make beautiful music, even if it is in FRENCH (Berlioz)! Stretch those vocal cords! They feel as tight as my neck muscles some days. And I'm grateful that on a cold November night, I can sit in a comfy chair with my hands wrapped around a brimming mug of hot chocolate and watch a little TV before bed. Ahhh...

Today, I'm grateful for a new coat that will keep me warm on days like today - the sun is shining, but the cold air can take your breath away! I'm grateful for a comfortable home with heat blowing automatically from the vents...and that I don't have to do laundry or dishes with water heated from a pot on a wood-burning stove! How did our great-grandmothers do it? I'm grateful for those great-grandmothers, whose faces are solemn and a little sad in their aged, sepia photos. I'm sure if they saw my "ease", they would shake their heads with wonder. I'm grateful that I live in today's world, because I know I've been saved by the medical advances that keep pushing forward and finding cures so that someone like me can find joy in each new day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Navigating November

November 1, 2011: After a glorious pre-Halloween weekend (where at times, I was with all of my kids and grands - so heartwarming to this Grammy!), we woke up this first of November morning to drizzly rain and much colder temperatures. No more Indian Summer? Boo. I have enjoyed wearing light jackets and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. Today, the sun was in hiding. At least the kiddies out Trick-or-Treating last night got the last bit of fall for their holiday evening.

Remember long, long ago, when Dr. Avizonis (my radiologist at the Utah Cancer Center) told me to come back in six months for a check-up? It seemed so far in the distance... Well, today was the day. I turned over the page on my calendar and there was written, "Dr. A at 9:30". Wow. I know where some of that time went, but the rest is a big blur. My life is kind of a blur. Maybe that's a good thing at times.

First, I went to the Bountiful Clinic and had my weekly IHR blood test. They should know me by now, instead of saying, "Oh, we don't see your standing order in the computer." I patiently wait by the desk for them to search the files, which they always do, and watch as they pull my sheet from the pile, which they always do, and say, "Oh, here you are, that will just be a moment," which they always do. It's a little annoying, but today it was comical. Really? Is it so hard to put my name in the computer? I'm sure it's there 1000 times any way. The 30-second test came back with the result of 2.5, which is absolutely perfect. A quick message from my doc says to "continue on the current regimen and repeat the test in two weeks." Wow, I get a week off! Awesome. I like being perfect on at least this one thing today.

Driving to the Utah Cancer Clinic, I had some moments of anxiety. These were the roads traveled for all those weeks of radiation. It's something I never want to repeat, but with melanoma, there is no telling what the future holds. The rain turned to snow as I pulled into a nifty parking spot just a few feet from the front door. Walking through the doors is hard, too, because much like the Huntsman Cancer Center, you know why all these people are here. They have cancer. I have cancer. We should wear signs to signify what we're coping with, but I'm glad we can remain a bit anonymous. I felt sorry for the obvious sales rep, who sat stiffly in a chair waiting to talk to someone about something other than cancer. I wondered if he worried he'd "catch" something. I watched a young mother with a scarf covering her bald head come out of the radiation room and herd her two little ones into their jackets and out to their car. It just isn't fair, is it? Finally, I'm called back by Allison to be weighed and shown to a room. I'm still about the same weight as I was when I left six months ago, which is good for me and makes Allison happy. A radiation tech smiled and said, "This is about the only place where we're glad when you gain weight." I told Allison about my second big surgery and she is sympathetic. She looked at my neck and said, "Yep, someone has been carving you up!" She left the room to make copies of my pathology reports for Dr. Avizonis to look at and I picked up my book and continued to read as I waited.

Dr. Avizonis came into the room with a look of disbelief. "What is going on?" she said with that understated anger at the meanness of cancer. I told her about finding the lump, learning that it had melanoma, going through the left side neck surgery, learning that none of the lymph nodes had cancer, and even about my mom and her struggles. She pulled up all my lab tests and pathological reports on her computer and printed them to put in my file. She seemed happy with what she read. Then, I tell her about my latest scare a week or so ago, when I discovered another little lump on my tummy as I was showering. I told her about the amazing "coincidence" that I was scheduled to see Dr. Bradley the very next day and that the moment he walked into the room and asked how I was doing, I cried a little and told him of my discovery. I told her that he performed his first abdomen needle biopsy on that tiny lump right there in his office and that the results came back that there seemed to be no cancer in it. I told her about my visit to Dr. Kerry Fisher, a general surgeon, who just "happened" to have an opening the next day after seeing Dr. Bradley, and that he ordered an abdomen/chest CT scan at LDS Hospital, who just "happened" to have an opening that same afternoon ("could I come to the hospital right now, as we don't have anything to do?!") She looked at the results of that CT scan on her computer and saw how the technician believed the lump was caused by "injections" to the area (remember my 10 days with the Coumadin injections?), an opinion shared by Dr. Fisher, too. Dr. A checked out my neck, listened to my heart and lungs, and then wanted to see this tiny lump for herself. When she felt it, she immediately nodded her head and said, "I agree that this seems to be caused by your Coumadin injections. You still need to have it removed and tested, but I don't think you need to worry about it at all." What a relief to have all three doctors on board with the same opinion. Of course, I know that anything can happen under the microscope - I certainly know not to trust my Goliath. But, I feel very reassured that the doctors are all in agreement. I have an appointment to have the lump/cyst (yes, let's call it that - Dr. Fisher calls it a cyst) removed on November 10 - in Dr. Fisher's office, not in a hospital. That makes it even better to me.

I walked out of the Utah Cancer Center with an appointment for six months from now, and I have faith that when that calendar day comes around, I'll still be cancer-free and healing and surviving. I'm a warrior. Nothing happens by coincidence, and I know that everything that just "happens", happens for a purpose, even a little cyst that shouldn't be there. It has shown me that God is in all the little details of my life, from scheduling appointments to guiding my fingers to trouble spots to giving me the doctors who will help me make it through these tests.